At some point or another, we all seem to be let down by someone in the church. A misguided comment, a forgotten invitation, a clash of personalities—any of these things can lead to a disconnect with your fellow churchgoers. When it does inevitably happen, it's startling and sets us off. At least, I know it does for me.
This is the church—a place to feel safe, understood, included, fully embraced. It's disheartening when it's not the pristine picture of community we long for, ache for, were created for. How do we move forward when we've been hurt by this community, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? That's what we'll be tackling in today's blog post, LiF sister.
A Life in Community
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." ~ Hebrews 10:24-25
First off, it's important to support our very reason for taking part in the body of Christ. When Jesus died and rose again, ascending into heaven, He left His disciples with a mandate—to continue to share the news of the Gospel to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. In short, the community of Christ is for all. The Jews and the Gentiles.
For this reason, the church would forever be a global church—a group of people who differed from one another. Different families of origin, different histories, socio-economic backgrounds, you name it. What brought everyone together was their trust in Jesus Christ, their willingness to serve Him. This is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Consider these verses from Ephesians 2:19-22, "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord."
Growing Together In Christ
"But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." ~ Ephesians 4:15-16
While we all have our differences, our aim is the same. We all seek to grow in Christ and learn His ways. It's simple enough, but we must take into account how complicated we humans are! We come to church on Sunday mornings carrying invisible emotional baggage, hidden longings, and insecurities. Living closely alongside other Christians can be easy, and it can be not-so-easy, too.
Growing up in a small country church (that I loved dearly, by the way!) there were disheartening moments where I realized that we, too, were not immune to the common pitfalls of church community—unnecessary drama and divisions. There were even moments where I felt misheard or left out from my fellow women's small group study, making me question why I was even there!
I distinctly remember coming home from a ladies' Bible study, disheartened. There were smaller groups, or cliques, if you will, within the Bible study itself. The whole experience felt fractured and fraudulent. This was supposed to be my sought after community of sisters in Christ? How disappointing. How unlike Jesus' preachings and my own expectations.
Keeping an Open, Honest Heart
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." ~ 1 Peter 4:8-9
Two things helped me immensely during this tense time. One, being open, honest, and acknowledging my feelings as valid. Whether this be confiding in a dear friend, journaling, or even thoughtfully praying over them. You are not wrong to feel deep things, LiF sister! You shouldn't feel shame for being soft-hearted, hopeful, and kind.
Secondly, I had to constantly remind myself of the larger mission at hand, to take a step back and see the big picture. Yes, the current social situation may not be what I had hoped, but God's work is at hand. There may be squabbles amongst those in the church, but what really matters is that we're serving the Lord and furthering His kingdom.
Whenever I feel lost or down and out about a disconnection, I remind myself in the hope that lay ahead. We are reminded in Isaiah 40:31, "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
- For this reason, the church would forever be a global church—group of people who differed from one another.
- While we all have our differences, our aim is the same. We all seek to grow in Christ and learn His ways.
- Two things help: one, being open, honest, and acknowledging your feelings as valid. Second, constantly remind myself of the larger mission at hand, to take a step back and see the big picture.
We Can Always Hope in Jesus
Isn't it encouraging to know, that despite the state of our world, we can always hope in Christ? He will never let you down. Our team creates Christian apparel featuring the Biblical imagery and verses to provide a much-needed sense of hope and relief in your day. Every piece has been thoughtfully crafted to share the good news of Jesus and remind you of your glorious future!